Special Correspondent

Govt. opposes NEXT for MBBS students

Stalin terms test as anti-federal; AIADMK and DMK on the same page on the issue, says Vijayabaskar

July 20, 2019 01:02 am | Updated 08:47 am IST - CHENNAI

M. Stalin

M. Stalin

The State government told the Assembly on Friday that it opposed the provision in the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill proposing a common final-year MBBS exam, to be known as National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to post-graduate medical courses.

In his reply to the issue raised by DMK president and Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin in the House, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said the State government favoured NEXT only for candidates who completed their undergraduate medical courses in foreign countries.

He said some of the provisions in the Bill went against the federal principles and rights of States.

The decision of the Union Cabinet on the NMC Bill, which, among others, proposed NEXT was yet to be communicated to the State government, Dr. Vijayabaskar said and added that the ruling AIADMK and the Opposition DMK were on the same page on the issue.

The Minister recalled the AIADMK MPs’ opposition when the Bill was proposed to be introduced in Parliament in 2016.

When the Centre invited inputs from Tamil Nadu on the proposal in 2018, the State government had given its suggestions to the standing committee concerned.

‘Against federalism’

Raising the issue in the House, Mr. Stalin referred to the Union Cabinet’s approval for conducting NEXT and added that some of the provisions of the NMC Bill were against the principles of federalism and the States’ rights.

As for National Medical Commission, there had not been sufficient representation to Tamil Nadu, which had a large number of medical colleges, Mr. Stalin pointed out and added that even in the Search Committee meant to select the chairperson and members, the States had not been given any role.

The provision exempting students of medical institutions of national importance from the purview of NEXT was undermining the excellence of Madras Medical College and Stanley Medical College in Chennai, Mr. Stalin pointed out.

“For the Centre to say that none of the medical colleges in the States are of national importance is in itself a great threat to the concept of federalism. So, Tamil Nadu government should oppose the draft NMC Bill,” Mr. Stalin said.

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